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Full text of ""The Chinese of the eastern states""

oKAH 



Reprinted from 

L'AVENIR NATIONAL 



"THE CHINESE 

OF THE 

EASTERN STATES" 



With the compliments of the 

Societe Historique Franco • Americaine 

Boston. Mass. 




Manchester, N. H. 

L'AVENIR NATIONAL PUBLISHING CO. 
1925 



THE CHINESE OF THE 
EASTERN STATES 



Reprinted from 

L'oAvenir National 

November 19, 1924 



FOREWORD 

As indicated above, the following correspondence, to- 
gether with the original communication of the writer to 
America, was published in full in L'Avenir National of Man- 
chester, N. H., one of the oldest French dailies in New 
England. In reprinting these documents in pamphlet form 
for general distribution among the public libraries, colleges, 
and universities of our country, the Societe historique franco- 
americaine — whose motto is "Lux et Veritas" — hopes to 
counteract in some slight measure the pernicious propaganda 
which appears to have reached its culminating point in the 
article "Fifty-fifty Americans" by Robert C. Dexter in the 
August (1924) World's Work. 



*£ 



Boston, Mass., October 28, 1924. 
To the Editor of AMERICA: 

Reverend Dear Sir: 

I trust that I am not imposing upon your good nature 
by requesting that you publish the enclosed communication 
in an early issue of AMERICA, although it will take con- 
siderable space. 

It seems hardly possible that your contributor could 
have read the Dexter article in extenso before writing his 
own article, or he would readily have seen the animus behind 
it. 

Your own action in seemingly indorsing the Dexter 
article by publishing the unfortunate Benedik comments has 
been severely condemned, notably by "La Sentinelle" of 
Woonsocket, R. I. and "La Semaine paroissiale" published by 
the Dominican Fathers at Fall River, Mass. 

I believe that the publication of my rejoinder will serve 
two purposes: firstly of proving that your review does not 
wittingly encourage the many busybodies who are constant- 
ly endeavoring to stir up trouble and bad feeling between 
the various racial elements that form the Catholic Church in 
this country; secondly of demonstrating once for all time 
that the epithet "Chinese of the East" bestowed upon the 
French-Canadians forty years ago was not deserved at that 
time, and is still less so at this date. 

Yours very truly, 

J. ARTHUR FAVREAU. 



AMERICA 



National Catholic Weekly, 

Thirty-nine West Eighty-Sixth Street, 

New York. 

November 5, 1924. 
Mr. J. Arthur Favreau, 
29 Harrison Avenue Extension, 
Boston, Mass. 

Dear Sir: 

I beg to thank you for your letter under date of October 
28. I am especially grateful to you for the courtesy, verbal 
and otherwise, that characterizes your communication. When 



my attention was called to the expression to which you take 
exception, last Tuesday, October 28, I wrote an apology and 
sent it to the printer to be inserted in the first possible issue 
of AMERICA, Nov. 8. This apology you yourself can read 
in the current issue of our paper. 

I am frank to confess that the words that gave offense 
entirely escaped my notice. Why, I do not know, for I am 
generally very alert to prevent anything that would hurt the 
feelings of any class of people. 

Now as to your letter. Do you realize, I wonder, that it is 
about 3000 words in length or more : that is, it contains 2400 
words more than is ordinarily allowed a letter, and 1500 
words more than is allowed an ordinary article. Moreover, 
it would, no doubt, provoke an endless controversy on a deli- 
cate affair and to this I am opposed. In view of these facts 
and the fact that I have apologized to the French-Canadian 
people, I must beg you to excuse me from further treatment 
of the matter. I am returning to you your long letter and 
the documents that you sent. 

Thanking you once again for your courtesy, I am, 

Very respectfully, 

R. H. TIERNEY. 
R. H. Tierney, S. J., 
Editor "America." 



A Protest and an Apology 

To the Editor of "America:" 

In the issue of your paper for October 11, 1924, there is 
an article on the "Making of Americans," in which the author 
cites from the "World's Work.'' In the course of the quota- 
tion, the French-Canadians are spoken of as the "Chinese of 
the Eastern States." 

Though we all know how easy it is for a busy editor to 
miss an expression that may be considered offensive to a 
reader or readers, yet in view of your unfailing courtesy to 
people of all races, we feel we should call your attention to 
anything in your pages that may prove offensive to others. 

Worcester, Mass. A. T. 

[We thank our correspondent for his gracious note, and 
herewith apologize to our French-Canadian people for the 
oversight of which we have been guilty. The expression is 
undoubtedly unfortunate and would have been deleted had 
not an "editor's devil" sat heavy on our eyelids. — Ed. Amer- 
ica.] 



Mr. Favreau's communication was as follows: 



To the Editor of AMERICA : 

Inasmuch as one of your contributors has recently seen 
fit to quote — and apparently fully subscribe to — a statement 
contained in an article by one Robert C. Dexter which ap- 
peared in the August World's Work, it may not be amiss to 
recall, for the benefit of your readers, the circumstances un- 
der which the opprobrious epithet "Chinese of the East" 
was first bestowed upon the French Canadians living in the 
Eastern States. 

In quoting Mr. Dexter, your contributor omitted to 
state, presumably through ignorance of the fact, that the 
language (1) which he attributes to Mr. Dexter was not 
original with that writer, but was taken verbatim from the 
Twelfth Annual Report of the Massachusetts Bureau of 
Statistics of Labor published in 1881 (more than forty years 
ago!), of which Bureau Mr. Carroll D. Wright was then 
chief. 

The following year (1882), in submitting his thirteenth 
annual report to the Legislature of Massachusetts, Mr. 
Wright, under the caption "The Canadian French in New 
England," devotes 92 pages to an exhaustive account of the 
hearing which he had deemed it wise to grant the French 
Canadians, who had strenuously resented the statements con- 
tained in his previous report, and which statements, for rea- 
sons best known to himself, Mr. Dexter, in this year of grace 
1924, has resurrected after two generations the better to vi- 
talize a la Frankestein the now popular post-war bogy of 
"Fifty-xifty Americanism." 

Mr. Wright's report, boiled down to its simplest expres- 
sion, follows: 

"The statements met the earnest and patriotic condemna- 
tion of the Canadian French of New England; and the French 
residents of Lowell and Hudson in Massachusetts passed series 
of resolutions on the subject, and sent them to the legislature 
during its session of 1881. These resolutions, by concurrent 
vote, were referred without other action to this Bureau." 



(1) The Making of Americans. — Anthony M. Denedik, D. D. 
(October 11): 

"The Canadian French (ccmplains Robert C. Dexter in the World's 
Work) are the Chinese of the Eastern States. They care nothing for 
our institutions, civil, political, or educational. They do not come to 
make a home among us, to dwell with us as citizens, and so become a 
part of us; but their purpose is merely to sojourn a few years as aliens, 
touching us only at a single point, that of work, and when they have 
gathered out of us what will satisfy their ends, to get away whence 
they came and bestow it there." 



After quoting these resolutions in full, — and if space 
permitted they would make interesting reading even at this 
late date, — Mr. Wright continues: 

"The legislature, in referring these vigorous resolutions to 
this office, did not indicate any action regarding them; and if 
the statements which were so strongly condemned had been 
made in any spirit of captiousness, or in malice, or through any 
prejudice against the French Canadians, we should have con- 
tented ourselves by simply printing the protests. The state- 
ments in the last re'port having been made in good faith, and as 
the results of the observations of, and statements made to, 
our agents, we thought it but fair to all parties that the French 
should have a full and free opportunity to present such testi- 
mony as they might have showing their progress in the United 
States; and consequently a hearing was announced for Oct. 25, 
1881, to which all persons interested were invited." 

"In accordance with this invitation, some sixty representative 
French Canadian gentlemen attended and offered their protests and 
their evidence which appear in the following full stenographic 

Report of the Hearing 

"Mr. Wright, Chief of the Bureau, .presiding, opened the hearing 
as follows: 

"Gentlemen, — The Legislature of Massachusetts, by Chap. 
29, Resolves of 1880, directed this bureau to make an investiga- 
tion in the States of Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, 
Rhode Island and Connecticut, relative to "a uniform system of 
laws, to regulate the hours of labor in the States mentioned, 
and to present the results of its investigations to the legislature 
in its next annual report." 

The investigation was made, and the results reported in 
the Twelfth Annual Report of this Bureau. 

Among the objections given by many manufacturers and 
operatives, in the States where no ten-hour system existed, was 
the presence of the French Canadians; and the reasons given 
by parties why the French were an obstacle to the extension 
of the system were presented in said report. 

These reasons, as well as all other results of the investiga- 
tion, were reported; and the officers of the Bureau would 
have been derelict in their duties, and would have disobeyed 
the positive commands of the legislature, had these reasons 
not been reported. 

"The moment the Bureau, either through fear of offending 
any party or race, or through desire to favor any party or race, 
suppresses facts or evidence given it in the legitimate course 
of an investigation, or introduces statements of its own inven- 
tion, and reports such for facts, whatever usefulness it may 
have will be gone, and the officers so prostituting the priv- 
ileges of the Bureau should meet the very severest condemna- 
tion the public can bestow. 

"The reasons given by parties why the presence of the 
French Canadians in factory towns is an obstacle to the exten- 
sion of the ten-hour system have offended the French; and they 



have expressed their disapprobation of such reasons by resolu- 
tions, which have been presented to the legislature, and by the 
legislature referred to the Bureau of Statistics. 

"Many bodies of the French, in convention, have passed 
very severe strictures upon the statements of the report and, 
what is to be regretted, have not confined themselves to deny- 
ing the truth of the reasons reported, but have seen fit to ac- 
cuse the officers of the Bureau personally, of issuing calumnious 
statements. I do not know as I can blame the French for 
being exasperated; the only fault, however, I can plead guilty 
to in regard to the report in question, as it relates to the 
French, is that it was not stated fully enough, perhaps, that 
the evidence which offends did not relate to Massachusetts at 
all, and that it was not explicit enough in stating the localities 
to which the evidence applied. We were discussing the reasons 
against the extension of the ten-hour system; and such reasons 
could not apply to Massachusetts, because the ten-hour system 
existed here already. 

"The legislature has not indicated any way in which the 
resolutions referred to the Bureau should be treated; but I have 
thought it only fair and honorable to invite you to this hearing, 
that you may not only protest against the statements of the 
report, but that you may introduce such evidence as you may 
have relative to the progress of your race." 

The following 78 pages contain the full stenographic re- 
port of the evidence and statistics submitted by the inter- 
ested parties, after which Mr. Wright sums up as follows : 

"But little need be said in addition to the remarks made at 
the hearing. We have presented the evidence in full, except 
where condensed by the authors in the revision of their re- 
spective statements. We have taken pains to learn if any 
malice existed ia the minds of the informants of the Bureait 
against the French, and are perfectly satisfied that no malice 
entered into the case; our informants thought, and still think, 
they were speaking the truth generally, but freely admit that 
their statements were too sweeping. It is evident, however, that 
some prejudice existed in their minds, for they but echoed the 
impressions existing in the minds of the people; and these im- 
pressions were the legitimate results of the policy and actions 
of certain classes of the French, as will be seen, but which were 
allowed to apply to the race. 

"The reports made to the Bureau came from localities 
where the French Canadians are not well organized, where 
they too often live in a way that subjects them to severe crit- 
icisms, and where, from a variety of causes, they have been ac- 
customed to change their residence with a frequency which 
usually led people to think of them as a roving race. It has 
been with them as with all peoples of strongly marked char- 
acteristics : the worst and lowest specimens have been taken as 
representatives of the race. 

"Before and since the hearing we have received a great 
many written and verbal statements to the effect that the parts 
of the Twelfth Annual Report relating to the French were per- 
fectly true. In fact, we have not met a single Canadian gen- 






tleman who has denied the truth of the report, if it were made 
the exception and not the rule, and if the term "Chinese of the 
East'' be left out. It is only fair, however, to state briefly how 
the whole question appears to us. 

"Ten years ago but few French Canadians had come to our 
factory towns. Prior to that, the brickmaker, the wood chop- 
per, and the border farmer gave whatever impression the pub- 
lic mind received. When immigration began in earnest, and 
thousands of operatives came over the line, they came, as a 
rule, with not only the exhortation of the French Catholic 
priest of Canada to return when they acquired some means, but 
with their own promise to the priest that they would return. 
The whole influence of the Church in Canada was, and is, exert- 
ed in favor of return to Canada. Later on, the Canadian gov- 
ernment established paid agencies in the United States, to aid 
in returning Canadians to their old homes. 

"This movement was fostered by the leading French Can- 
adians living here, and has been advocated by the French press 
of New England except "Le Republicain;" even since the last 
report of the Bureau was published. 

"Many, however, came here from Canada with faint or little 
desire to return. Such settled at once to the business of life, 
and have become not only interested in our institutions, but 
have taken part in maintaining them. The idea of the new- 
comers being migratory arose not from them but from the class 
which came with the promise and the determination to return, 
and from their reiterated statements that they should return. 
And the great number who did actually return convinced many 
persons that they came simply to gain what they could, but 
not to become part of the American people. 

"Soon another influence began to be felt. The French 
Canadian loves his church, and is loyal to it. If living in a 
small out-of-the-way place, he would soon remove with his 
compatriots, and when sufficient numbers had gathered, the 
church was organized and became the central power, or in- 
fluence. The priest coming from Canada, it may be on mis- 
sionary work, to take charge of the growing parish, soon found 
himself permanently established in New England and his nat- 
ural desire was to see his flock grow and prosper. Thus re- 
patriation stood in the way of the growth of the French Catholic 
Church in New England, and one or the other must be aban- 
doned. Many Canadians returned, and are returning to Can- 
ada; but they find themselves more attached to the new than 
to the old; for, as Professor Cyr remarked in his evidence, 
things do not look as they did when they were young. So they 
again turn their faces this way, and seek permanent abodes. 

"The efforts of the Canadian government have been almost 
without success, and with strong French churches established 
in New England repatriation is a failure; but still very recent- 
ly, it has been loudly advocated in very many quarters as the 
best of patriotism. The doctrine has done much, and the 
most, in fact, towards fixing the impression in the minds of 
New England people that the French cared nothing whatever 
for the welfare of the country, but only sought personal gain at 
the expense of home industry. 

"The employers of labor have done much to stimulate 
French immigration; almost without exception, the mill man- 



agers, whatever they have to say about the traits of the Can-* 
adians, prefer them in their mills; for they are industrious in 
the extreme, do not grumble about pay, are docile, and have 
nothing to do with labor agitations. While in these direc- 
tions they have won the regard of employers, they have in-/ 
curred the animosity of labor reformers. 

"Another source of the prevailing impression that the 
French were unfriendly to New England ideas is found in the 
establishment of parochial schools. However much the effort 
of the French to educate their children in these institutions 
may be applauded, the parochial school will always excite hos- 
tility on the part of the native. Whether they are foreign to 
our ways, or inimical to our institutions, are not questions for 
discussion at this time. We only state the fact that their 
establishment by members of any race will always raise sus- 
picion in the American mind as to the sincerity of professions 
of loyalty to our government on the part of the founders. 

"The fact should be recorded that our French population is 
being schooled in our public and their parochial schools to an 
extent not realized a very short time ago, and to a much great- 
er degree than the public is, even now, aware of. 

"Besides these causes there exist localities of French pop- 
ulation that make the intelligent French Canadian blush, and 
that are disgraceful to the cities which permit the prevailing 
conditions. 

The same might be said, with equal truth, of other races. 
These localities are heard of more frequently than those of 
good order and good conditions. 

"All these things are clearly indicated and shown by the 
evidence given at the hearing, and are fully substantiated by 
all with whom we have consulted, whether Canadians or Amer- 
icans. 

"With regard to naturalization, while the French are not 
naturalizing as rapidly as some other foreign elements, yet, 
considering the obstacle of language, they are now doing well. 
The nationality of our voting population is discussed elsewhere. 
The statistics given at the hearing give evidence of increasing 
interest in that direction. The fact that the French Canadian 
population has increased so rapidly only proves that more 
come than return, while the statistics of property show that 
permanency is becoming the rule. This, of course, is strong- 
ly shown in the building of churches, the establishment of 
schools, societies, literary associations, etc. 

"Now, while it would have been very easy to have combat- 
ed the evidence given at the hearing, and to have introduced 
much testimony to support the statements contained in the re- 
port of last year, and while we see .no reason to strike out the 
statements therein made when read in the light of the present 
report, it is very gratifying to know that a wide and rapidly 
growing movement has arisen among the French Canadians 
within the past few years, towards becoming citizens, fully 
identified with us as a permanent and honorable part of our 
people; and in their every endeavor in this direction Americans 
can but wish them God-speed. Partly as a result of this move- 
ment, efforts for repatriation have been abandoned, and it is 
now the settled policy of the Canadian French, who come among 



us, to come as permanent residents, and to be Americans. 
Although this movement is recent, yet it is accompanied by 
such laudable endeavors to acquire a knowledge of our institu- 
tions, and to take active and intelligent part in our national 
life, that doubtless our best wishes concerning them will be 
realized. The action of every French Canadian convention 
which we have noted leans strongly in this direction. With 
such aspirations and purposes as were manifested at the hear- 
ing, complete assimilation with the American people is but a 
question of time. It was the desire to make known these 
aspirations and purposes, and a disposition to treat all parties 
fairly, which induced the Bureau to give the hearing; the same 
reasons warranted the use of so much of the space of this re- 
port. The prosperity of New England demands the rapid 
progress of all her industrial forces, and of these the French 
Canadian element is certainly one of the most important." 

Had not Mr. Dexter undertaken to give new life to the 
aspersions cast upon the French Canadians more than forty 
years ago, and incidentally imposed upon the good faith of 
your contributor, it might seem idle to again attempt a refu- 
tation of the unjust and unfair statements quoted in your is- 
sue of October 11th. 

However, it is a matter not without interest to record 
that at a later date, in 1907, the same Mr. Wright — then pres- 
ident of Clark University at Worcester after having been 
for twenty years the United States Commissioner of Labor 
and having acted as director of the 1900 Federal Census — 
expressed himself as follows, in acknowledging the receipt of 
a copy of a paper read before the Worcester Society of Anti- 
quity by Mr. Alexandre Belisle on "The French Canadians in 
the Development of the United States:" 

"I have found in the course of my investigations that no 
"other nationality has developed as rapidly and in as satisfac- 
tory a manner, on coming to this country, as the French Can- 
adians, and I am convinced that they have had a great deal 
"to do with the development of our country. (2) 

"Yours very sincerely, 

"CARROLL D. WRIGHT." 

Moreover, Mr. Horace G. Wadlin, recently Librarian at 
the Boston Public Library, who was an assistant to Mr. 
Wright at the time above referred to, (1882) and was later 



(2) Histoire de la presse franco-americaine par Alexandre Belisle, 
pp. 329-330. 



on chief of the Massachusetts Bureau of Statistics of Labor, 
wrote as follows to the Boston Herald soon after the publica- 
tion of the Dexter article (3) : 

"The unfortunate and unjustifiable remark which bracket- 
ed the French Canadians in New England with the Chinese ap- 
peared not recently, but approximately 40 years ago in a report 
issued by the then existing Massachusetts Bureau of Labor 
(now abolished as a separate department), not as an official 
conclusion of the bureau, but, if memory serves, as a summary 
of merely personal opinion attributed to some of those who ex- 
pressed themselves to agents of the bureau in an investigation 
concerning textile factory conditions in this state. 

"This was some years prior to my own controlling con- 
nection with the department and I have no documents at hand, 
but, naturally the aspersion was resented, and in simple justice 
to a worthy element in our industrial population, the bureau 
consequently conducted an impartial investigation upon the 
special point in controversy, with the result that the imputa- 
tion upon the economic status of the French Canadians here 
was completely removed. 

"Indeed, the remark itself at the time reflected only a cer- 
tain existing racial prejudice between conflicting elements in 
some of our mill towns, rather than any real economic condi- 
tion. No general feeling against the French existed or was 
justified then, and a good deal of water i.as run under the bridge 
since. 

"The French Canadian in New England has, after a gen- 
aration, established his own social and religious centres here; 
he has become firmly knit into our civic life. It is a pity that 
anybody, however unwittingly, should stir the ashes of an old 
controversy. The status of the French Canadian in New Eng- 
land is not open to adverse criticism, and nobody who knows 
the facts impugns it. 

"HORACE G. WADLIN." 



"Boston, Aug. 21." 

In conclusion, if your contributor still harbors the delu- 
sion that Mr. Dexter's complaint 

"is only too frequently true, not only in the case of French 
"Canadians, but also with those of other races. And some- 
times the clergy who have care of them are, at least in part, 
"to blame by emphasizing and encouraging their national ten- 
dencies. . ." 



(3) Mr. Wadlin's letter to the Boston Herald was in answer to a 
communication sent to that paper by Raoul H. Beaudreau, Esq., (former 
District Attorney for Middlesex County) vigorously protesting against 
the Dexter article as commented upon by the Montreal Star in an article 
reproduced by the Herald. 



he should read a communication which appeared anonymously 
in the Norwich (Connecticut) Bulletin on August 5th last 
and which follows in part (4) : 

"No French Canadian has sollicited the comment to fol- 
low here. It is entirely gratuitous. It is written out of the 
experience of many years of intimate association with them, 
after the good part of a lifetime of close intimacy with their 
ideas, their ideals and their general viewpoint of life. In a 
word, the article is a rank slander on a people who have done 
more to develop Eastern Connecticut in the past half century 
than any other racial group that can be named out of memory. 
It is an inexcusable offense against a people that furnished 
more soldiers and sailors for the World War out of this terri-i 
tory — a host of them as volunteers — than any other racial 
group, including those <vho reserve for themselves the dis- 
tinction of being called "real" Americans. The French Cana- 
dians may have their faults — and the racial groups of the 
United States who have not are not of record — but calling them 
Fifty-Fifty Americans is untrue, unjust and unfair. 

"French Canadians have been severely criticised for years 
past because of their insistence that knowledge of the French 
language be a paramount consideration with them in the 
United States. There is little justice in that criticism. Any 
citizen who knows two languages is better equipped to meet 
the needs of life than a citizen who knows only one. If the 
French Canadians have been at all in error in this matter of 
bilingual efficiency, it has been in insisting that people who do 
not know the French language use it in conversing with them, 
when, on their part, English was not a barrier to conversation. 
Such occasions, however, are rare. 

"The implication in the article referred to that French 
Canadians come into the United States not with the idea of 
becoming permanent residents and citizens, but with the hope 
that they will accumulate enough money here to return to a 
Canadian farm and live a life of comparative ease and comfort, 
as a hard worker might view life, is libelous of a race. 

"He who has the time can find no more convincing refuta- 
tion of this than is to be found in the assessors' records of the 
town of Killingly. French Canadians have acquired more 
property of a residential and business nature, built more prop- 
erty of the same kind and developed them more than any other 
group of people who make up the cosmopolitan population of 
this town. Starting from zero, a half century ago, they have 
worked and saved and accumulated more in essential values 
than any other groups of people who have labored with them. 
Their record in Killingly and all other sections of Eastern Con- 



(4) Since the above was written, information has come to the 
writer that the author of this communication is Mr. Edward A. Sullivan, 
a member of the regular staff of the Norwich Bulletin, who, for some 
years past, has been covering Eastern Connecticut for the Bulletin. 

11 



necticut — cannot be successfully challenged. They have been 
a hard-working, prudent, peaceful people. Their children and 
their children's children are among the most desirable citizens, 
especially when danger threatens the nation. They are Amer- 
icans, and good ones. If Robert Cloutman Dexter, high-paid 
writer that he probably is, dealt more with facts than fancies 
when he assails the French Canadians he would at once offer 
a public apology for the false impressions he has set up against 
them and set out to learn something of their thrift and what 
they have done for this nation, as good citizens, before ever 
venturing again to attack them and attribute what he regards 
as their frailities to the fact that they are members of the old- 
est Christian denomination in the world. 

"While not a French Canadian, the writer pays this trib- 
ute to a great people out of a sense of justice." 

Et nunc erudimini! 

J. ARTHUR FAVREAU, 



Secretary, Societe historique 
franco-amgricaine. 



Boston, October 27. 



12 



ADDENDA 



Although the scope of this pamphlet does not permit of 
an extended account of the hearing conducted by Colonel 
Wright as a result of the protests which his Twelfth Annual 
Report had elicited, it has been deemed advisable, in order to 
complete the record, to reprint the resolutions from the 
French Canadians of Lowell to which Mr. Wright refers in 
his report of the hearing. 

Lowell, Mass., May 1881. 
Hon. Charles J. Noyes, 
Speaker of the House of Representatives: — 

Sir, — The "Society St. Jean Baptistp de Lowell, Mass.," a 
national and benevolent society of the Canadian French of Low- 
ell, organized in 1869 and incorporated in 1870, according to 
the laws of the Commonwealth, at a regular meeting held May 
4 t 1881, unanimously adopted the following resolutions: — 

RESOLUTIONS. 

Whereas, The Chief of the Bureau of Statistics of Labor, 
in his twelfth Annual Report to the Hon. Charles J. Noyes, 
Speaker of the House of Representatives of the Common- 
wealth, denounced the presence of the Canadian French as an 
objection to the system of ten hours' labor, calling them the 
"Chinese of the East; a horde of industrial invaders; a deceit- 
ful people who seek their amusements in drinking, smoking, 
and lounging." etc., etc., — it is 

RESOLVED, That we deny each and every accusation 
contained in said report, and that we protest most energetically 
against these insinuations made against the French Canadians 
of the Eastern States. 

RESOLVED, That it is the duty of all and every French 
Canadian in New England to strongly protest against this re- 
port so far as it concerns them. 

RESOLVED, That a copy of these presents be submitted 
to the legislature of the Commonwealth, with our prayers to 
consider. 

J. W. PARADIS. President. 
J. H. GUILLET, Secretary. 
A true copy of the record — 

Attest: J. H. GUILLET, Secretary. 

13 



Lowell, May 1881. 
Hon. Charles J. Noyes, 
Speaker of the House of Representatives: — 

Sir, — The French Canadians of Lowell, feeling aggrieved 
at the report of Col. Carroll D. Wright, Chief of the Bureau of 
Statistics of Labor, assembled at a mass-meeting, May 5, 1881, 
and passed the following resolutions which they humbly pre- 
sent for your consideration: — 

RESOLUTIONS 

Whereas, Lowell is the greatest manufacturing dis- 
trict of the Eastern States, and the number of French Can- 
adians is much greater than in any other centre in New Eng- 
land; and 

Whereas, We recognize unanimously the wisdom of 
the ten-hour system, — 

RESOLVED, That we protest, energetically against this 
portion of the report of the Bureau of Statistics, as being en- 
tirely groundless; and 

Whereas, For the past fifteen years, agents of the manu- 
facturers have been sent to Canada to solicit its inhabitants 
to come to the States, promising them good places and good 
wages; and 

Whereas, By repeated invitations this class of population 
has come to this section to live in this land of liberty; and 

Whereas, The Chief of the Bureau of Statistics in his re- 
port called them "The Chinese of the East": it is 

RESOLVED, That we deny with indignation the epithet, 
and protest strongly against this portion of the report as being 
injurious to our race. 

Whereas, We, Canadian French of New England are yet, 
for the most part, ignorant of the English language and the 
habits and customs of this country, we recognize the high wis- 
dom of the institutions, — 

RESOLVED, That we protest the part of the report 
which says that "we do not care for the institutions — civil, pol- 
itical, or educational — in this country." 

Whereas, Since the French Canadians have come to this 
section they have reached a population of four hundred thou- 
sand in New England: and whereas a large number have be- 
come proprietors, paying large taxes: and whereas for the most 
part the young men propose to make their home here, — 

RESOLVED, That we protest against the portion of the 
report which says that we "are a horde of industrial invaders." 

Whereas, We have to live five years in the country be- 
fore we can become citizens of this glorious Republic, and the 
French Canadians have been here in large numbers but five or 
six years, there are over two hundred voters of this class in 
Lowell alone, — 

RESOLVED, That we protest with energy against the 
portion of the report which says that "voting, with all that it 
implies, they care nothing about, nor rarely does one of them 
become naturalized." 

Whereas, We recognize the necessity of sending our 
children to school, having done so continually, petitioning the 
city of Lowell to find schoolrooms for our children, — 

14 



RESOLVED, That we protest strongly against the por- 
tion of the report which says "that they will not send their 
children to school if they can help it, and that they deceive 
also about their schooling with brazen effrontery." 

RESOLVED, That whereas the French Canadians of 
Lowell have established two national benevolent societies, two 
literary societies which give literary and dramatic representa- 
tions twice a month, a band that gives occasional public con- 
certs, and three societies for children, furnishing them with 
proper amusements; and 

Whereas, In our population, which is above ten thousand 
in Lowell, the average found guilty of intoxication before the 
police court of Lowell is not over twelve per annum; it is 

RESOLVED, That we protest strongly against the por- 
tion of the report which says that "drinking and smoking and 
lounging are the sum of their amusements." 

J. H. GUILLET, President. 
E. H. King, Secretary. 
A true copy — 

Attest: E. H. King, Secretary. 

Lowell, May 1881. 
Hon. Charles J. Noyes, 
Speaker of the House of Representatives: — 

Sir,— "L'Association des Jeunes Gens Catholiques," a lit- 
erary society of Lowell, Mass., organized in 1878, at a meeting 
held May 4, 1881, adopted unanimously the following 



RESOLUTION. 

Whereas, Col. Carroll D. Wright, Chief of the Bureau of 
Statistics of Labor, in his report to Hon. Charles J. Noyes, 
Speaker of the House of Representatives, has most unjustly 
and injuriously treated the French Canadian population of the 
Eastern States: It is 

RESOLVED, That we protest most energetically against 
each and every allegation, contained in the said report, having 
a tendency to injure in any way the good standing of the 
French Canadian nationality. 

JEAN G. C6TE, 

President. 

H. Constantineau, Jun., 

Secretary. 
A true copy — 

Attest: H. Constantineau, Jun., 

Secretary. 

We earnestly request that the above resolution be trans- 
mitted to the legislature for their early consideration. 

A. J. G. C. 

H. Constantineau, Jun., 
Secretary. 

15 



The hearing was conducted on behalf of the French Cana- 
dians by Hugo A. Dubuque of Fall River (now a justice of the 
Superior Court of Massachusetts). After his opening statement, 
Mr. Dubuque called upon the following gentlemen to present 
either evidence or statistics concerning the social and moral 
condition of the French in New York, in New Hampshire, in 
Connecticut, in Maine and in Massachusetts: Ferdinand Ga- 
gnon, editor of "Le Travailleui 4 " of Worcester; Rev. J. B. H. 
Millet, of Nashua, N. H. ; Charles Lalime of Worcester, agent 
of the Canadian Government for the New England States; Rev. 
P.J. P. Bedard of Fall River; Hon. S.N. Aldrich, ex-senator from 
Marlborough, Massachusetts; Hon. Charles Q. Tirrell, then sen- 
ator for the district including the town of Marlborough; Tim- 
othy A. Coolidge, manufacturer of shoes in Marlborough; J. 
Henri Guillet of Lowell, (the founder and first president of the 
Society historique franco-americaine) ; J. D. Montmarquet, 
editor of "Le Messager" of Lewiston, Maine; Professor N. 
Cyr, editor of "Le Republicain" of Boston; Edward J. L. He- 
rault, justice of the peace of Fall River; L. E. Boudreau, editor 
of "L'Echo des Canadiens" of Manchester, N. H.; F. C. Mi- 
ville of Manchester; Joseph Bouvier of Woonsocket, R. I.; J. M. 
Authier, editor of "La Nouvelle Patrie'T of Cohoes, N. Y.; J. 
E. Marier of Lawrence; Dr. Marc Fontaine of Spencer, Mass. 
It does not appear from the stenographic report of the hearing 
that a single person appeared in support of the derogatory sta- 
tements contained in the Twelfth Annual Report of the Bureau 
of Statistics of Labor. 

In closing, Mr. Dubuque expressed himself in part as 
follows : 

"But before I close, I would say that I think we have proved 
by overwhelming evidence that the statements contained in 
this report are groundless. We have not proved that they are 
malicious, but we deduce from the fact that they are false, that 
they have been presented to you from a malicious spirit or in 
a spirit which is just as sordid and despicable, — undoubtedly 
by interested parties. Now, of course, the greatest objection 
which we have against the report is this, gentlemen of this 
Bureau, that it singles out the French people in preference to 
the Irish or the English. What is contained on page 469 and 
page 470 of this report, gentlemen of this Bureau, could be said 
of the English element, could be said of the Irish element, 
could be said of the Portuguese element, could be said of all 
the elements of society, even of the native Americans, — some 
of them. What you have said here might apply to a very few 
exceptions, but it does not apply to the French people as a 
whole. It does not apply to the majority of the French people, 
the vast majority of them. It does not apply to the men who 
have come before you, and it does not apply, I say, to the vast 
majority of the French people not only of Massachusetts, but 
of New England. I think you are satisfied now, after this 
hearing, gentlemen, that all we want here to-day, all we ask, is 
simple justice. We think we have had it, and we thank you for 
granting us an impartial hearing. We think that you have 
shown a disposition to be fair, and to give us what is called 
in common parlance "fair play," and that is all we asked, 
gentlemen, and for that we are thankful to you. 

16 



"But another great objection we had against this report 
was this. We would not have been so much touched by the re- 
port if it had been contained simply in a newspaper, because 
there we could answer it. If it had been in "The Boston Her- 
ald," if it had been in "The Boston Journal," or in any of the 
great newspapers of this country, we could have answered 
it. But here how could we answer it? Here is a document 
which will remain forever, as long as the State House stands, 
— in the archives of this Commonwealth. It will be out of this 
material, as I said in the beginning, that the history of the 
French people of this Commonwealth will be written. When 
the social student will come here to study the progress of the 
people, of this Commonwealth, and of the New England States, 
he will come to this source of information, he will see these 
statistics collected here, and moreover, he will see that no other 
nationality is mentioned here but the French Canadians. He 
will see that they are brought, as it were, as the great oppo- 
sition to the advancement of the working classes. He will 
think, at first, by reading this, that they were a great obstacle 
to the social and moral progress of the people of this Com- 
monwealth. But I hope, gentlemen of this Bureau, that in the 
next report there will be such an overwhelming refutation, 
such a satisfactory refutation, based upon the facts as we have 
presented them to you, that, even if an injustice has been done 
to us, justice at last will prevail. 



17 



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REPRESENTATIVE OPINIONS 



Under the caption "French Catholics in the United 
States," the Catholic Encyclopedia (Vol. VI, pp. 271-277), 
published in 1909, contains an article which should be of il- 
luminating interest to any open-minded reader of Mr. Dex- 
ter's fantastic tissue of half-truths and gross exaggerations. 
The concluding paragraphs of this article follow in part: 

"To sum up, the record of the French Americans in their' 
new country has been such that prominent men of native origin, 
. writers and politicians of note, have sung their praise on more 
than one occasion. In this respect, one will readily remem- 
ber the homage paid them upon different occasions by the late 
Senator Hoar, of Massachusetts, as well as the marks of high 
esteem shown them by governors and members of Congress. 
As recently as 20 March, 1908, Senator Henry Cabot Lodge, of 
Massachusetts, speaking on "Immigration" before the Boston 
City Club, made the following statement: 

"Later than any of these (movements of immigration), was 
the immigration of French Canadians, but which has assumed 
large proportions, and has become a strong and most valuable 
element of our population. But the French of Canada scarcely 
come within the subject we are considering, because they are 
hardly to be classed as immigrants in the accepted sense. 
They represent one of the oldest settlements on this continent. 
They have been, in the broad sense, Americans for genera- 
tions, and their coming to the United States is merely a move- 
ment of Americans across an imaginary line, from one part of 
America to another." 

Following the same line of thought, Governor Channing 
H. Cox of Massachusetts, speaking at the celebration of the 
fiftieth anniversary of the founding of the Societe St. Jean- 
Baptiste of Holyoke, Massachusetts, June 24th, 1922, ex- 
pressed himself as follows : 

"The French-Canadians began to come to this country be- 
fore the Revolution. They were in the army of General 
Washington, and at the time of the Civil War 40,000 men of 
French descent joined in the preservation of the Union. In 
the recent war the contribution of French-Americans is gen- 
erally known and it was particularly creditable here in Massa- 
chusetts. A large number of the brave men of the 104th Regi- 
ment of the 26th Division were French, and when one reads 
the record of enlistments from many of our cities and towns, 
he is deeply impressed with the large number of French who 
joined the colors. 

19 



"It is estimated that there are more than 400,000 French 
people in Massachusetts today, and more than 800,000 in the 
New England States. They have been the pillar of New Eng- 
land industries and they have become prominent in every line 
of business, as indeed they are leaders in all our public under- 
takings. It must be a source of gratification to you to realize 
that French-Americans have sat in the United States Senate, 
and in Congress; they have also served in the Diplomatic 
Service. This year there are nine French-American members 
of the Massachusetts House of Representatives. We recall 
the recent conspicuous service rendered to the neighboring 
State of Rhode Island by its distinguished Governor, Honorable 
Aram J. Pothier. It has been my good fortune as Governor of 
Massachusetts to co-operate with the State of Rhode Island, 
and I have come to have a warm regard and sincere admira- 
tion for its present worthy Governor, Honorable Emery J. San 
Soucy. Here in Massachusetts distinguished French-Ameri- 
cans could be recalled without number. One of our able 
Judges of the Superior Court is Honorable Hugo A. Dubuque. 
In our cities there have been Mayors, and in every way French- 
Americans have occupied positions of leadership and responsi- 
bility. Significant of such service is the record of Pierre 
Bonvouloir, for thirty years City Treasurer of Holyoke, and held 
in universal esteem and love by the people of this city. The 
French press of the Commonwealth has been a powerful in- 
fluence in moulding public opinion. Wherever the French- 
Americans have made their homes they have not dwelt apart, 
but have become identified with the community. It has been 
an easy step for them to move from one part of America to an- 
other, and as we look back over their record of brilliant 
achievements in Massachusetts, we can truthfully say that they 
have made a large and lasting contribution to the general wel- 
fare and to the stability of our institutions, and to the cause of 
progressive good government." 

As Lieutenant Governor and later Governor of Massa- 
chusetts, President Coolidge. as well as his successor Gover- 
nor Cox, had ample opportunity to judge of the loyalty and 
patriotism of the French-Americans now living in the New 
England States. 

Speaking at Fall River, September 4, 1916, on the occa- 
sion of the dedication of a monument in honor of Lafayette, 
Mr. Coolidge, then Lieutenant Governor, said : 

"I love to think of his connection with our history. I love 
to think of him at the dedication of the Bunker Hill Monu- 
ment receiving the approbation of the Nation from the lips of 
Daniel Webster. I love to think of the long line of American 
citizens of French blood in our Commonwealth today, ready 
to defend the principles he fought for, "Liberty under the Law," 
citizens who, like him, look not with apology, but with respect 
and approval and admiration on that sentiment inscribed on the 
white flag of Massachusetts, "Ense petit placidam sub liber- 
tate quietem" (With a sword she seeks secure peace under 
liberty)." 

20 



As recently as September, 1923, in a telegram to the 
members of L'Ordre des Forestiers Franco-Americains, ga- 
thered in convention at Westbrook, Maine, the President saw 
fit to voice the following sentiments : 

"The White House, Washington, D. C. 
"F. F. A., Westbrook, Me.: 

"Please express to the convention my sincere thanks for 
their message of encouragement and support. I know the mem- 
bers of your organization and our French American citizens 
throughout New England can always be counted upon to uphold 
the fundamental principles of our government, and that in loy- 
alty and patriotism they yield to none. 

"CALVIN COOLIDGE, 

President of the U. S." 



FRENCH-AMERICANS AND 
AMERICANIZATION 



In 1916 the four leading French-speaking fraternal 
societies having their headquarters in New England (L'U- 
nion St-Jean-Baptiste d'Amerique, l'Association Canado- 
Americaine, L'Ordre des Forestiers Franco-Americains, and 
La Societe Jacques Cartier) formed a central organization 
under the name of the Franco-American Catholic Federation, 
"for the purpose of promoting the religious, social and eco- 
nomic interests of the French-Americans." One of the ob- 
jects of the Federation as formulated in its by-laws, is "to 
study social questions in order to direct the French-Ameri- 
cans in the right path and to teach them the duties which 
they owe to civil and religious authority, to their adopted 
land these United States, and to their homes." 

At its second annual congress, held in Worcester, Massa- 
chusetts, February 25, 1919, the Federation — whose member- 
ship now exceeds 80,000 and whose pronouncements may 
therefore be fairly considered as representing the present 
consensus of opinion of the French-Americans — put itself 
squarely on record in a set of resolutions regarding the prob- 
lem of americanization and the use of the mother tongue. 

21 



These resolutions, as quoted and commented upon by the 
late Frank V. Thompson, then Superintendent of the Boston 
Public Schools, in The Schooling of the Immigrant, published 
in 1920, — it being the first volume in the series of eleven 
Americanization studies prepared through the initiative of 
the Carnegie Corporation of New York, — were as follows: 

"1. The Franco-American Catholic Federation admits 
that a knowledge of the English language promotes a closer 
political, social and economic union among the various groups 
which make up the American- nation; 

"2. The Franco-American Catholic Federation does not ad- 
mit that this union requires the abandonment of the mother 
tongue and of the racial qualities of these groups; 

"3. The Franco-American Catholic Federation even main- 
tains that the preservation of the mother tongue and of the 
racial qualities of these groups can be useful for their intel- 
lectual and moral culture and also for civic and economic 
values; 

"4. In consequence, the Franco-American Catholic Fed- 
eration puts itself on record against all attempts to suppress 
or restrict the use or the teaching of languages other than 
English either in the home, in the school, or in the press; 

"5. The Franco-American Catholic Federation exhorts its 
members to employ all the legitimate means at their command 
to prevent the so-called Americanization plan from being 
diverted from its reasonable ends; 

"6. The Franco-American Catholic Federation suggests as 
practical means of action: (a) the use of the influence of 
Franco-American leaders and groups to persuade industrial and 
political leaders to support the principles above set forth; 
(b). to recommend to those of our compatriots who have not 
a sufficient knowledge of English to complete their knowledge 
of that language by attending special classes being organized 
for that purpose. 

The congress further declared its attitude on citizenship: 

"1. The present congress of the Franco- American Catholic 
Federation, following the example of so many previous con- 
gresses, urgently recommends the organization of permanent 
committees on naturalization bv all French-American societies 
which have not already organized these committees; 

"2. The Franco-American Catholic Federation urges all 
French-Americans who are citizens, either by birth or by nat- 
uralization, not to fail to register for voting and to exercise 
their franchise at each and every election. 

"This statement of position is illuminating as indicative 
of the attitude of one large and influential foreign-language 
group in New England. This attitude is typical of many of 
our foreign-born peoples, and from the position of the author 
of this study is natural and, as expressed, not antagonistic to 
sound Americanism. While desirous of meeting the reason- 

22 



able standards of the land of their adoption, these groups 
wish to preserve in some degree their native language and 
national culture. They do not challenge the state for its in- 
sistence on English as the medium of instruction in the schools, 
but they protest against prohibition at the same time of the 
teaching of their mother tongue. The resolutions encourage 
naturalization and the exercise of the franchise. 

"We must be tolerant of the fact that these newer Ameri- 
cans cannot abandon at once the old ties of racial and national 
culture. Racial obliteration cannot take place in one genera- 
tion; there are no instances in history of any such sudden 
transformation. Americans of many generations still take 
pride in their Scotch, Welsh, or English ancestry and they are 
no less patriotic on that account. Robert Louis Stevenson, 
speaking of the attitude of the Scotch in his day toward Eng- 
land, says that the Scotchman even yet thinks with a Scotch 
accent." (5) 



(5) The Schooling of the Immigrant, Frank V. Thomp- 
son (Harper & Brothers, 1920)— pp. 135-137. 




23